Donation: The One Ngultrum initiative that is expected to help people recovering from renal failure disease is fast gaining popularity among people with many donating the note towards the cause.

The initiative began in July this year. A graduate, Jigme Namgay started it with the aim to educate people on the lowest denomination note, in collaboration with Bhutan Kidney Foundation (BKF).

BKF has collected more than Nu 39,000 so far.

BKF’s programme officer Karma said that the response from people has been good so far. “We’re told that the initiative is an opportunity to do something good,” he said.

“As it’s a small denomination note, people don’t feel the pinch when they donate.”

There are 213 registered volunteers solely for the initiative. However, not all the members are active. Apart from registered volunteers, the foundation has also received donations from individual collectors.

Karma said a 70-year-old man had come all the way from Paro to contribute the one Ngultrum notes that he collected a couple of years ago to go on pilgrimage to the east. As he couldn’t go beyond Bumthang, he donated the remaining one Ngultrum notes recently after he heard of the initiative on the radio.

The man walked into the BKF office with 321 one Ngultrum notes.

Karma said the initiative is expected to help circulation of one Ngultrum notes that many people no longer care about. “The same money would go back to the people again,” he said, adding that the notes would be exchanged at the Royal Monetary Authority.

BKF officials thanked all the registered volunteers who have been working for the initiative and contributors including those who choose to remain anonymous. “You will be able to save someone’s life by merely contributing Nu 1,” he said.

Kuenphen Medical shop in Thimphu is a drop-off point for those interested in donating towards this initiative. Kuenphen Medical donated Nu 17,166 last week that people contributed from July to November.

Kuenphen Medical shop’s Jharna Rai also said that the response from people so far has been positive and encouraging.

Jharna Rai said she became part of the initiative as she felt that Kuenphen Medical was the right place to start the initiative. “There are people who don’t want to take Nu 1 change. And this goes to the donation box,” Jharna Rai, who is also a member of BKF, said.

Jharna Rai said an old woman from Chamgang has sent 83 one Ngultrum notes through her niece after hearing about the initiative on radio. “I urge people to contribute more through which we will be able to help many people,” she said.

Similarly, a housewife in Thimphu, Kinley Wangmo started collecting one Ngultrum notes after she read of the initiative in the newspaper.

Without the slightest hesitation, Kinley Wangmo visited almost all the places she was familiar with collecting one Ngultrum notes. In about four months, she managed to collect Nu 8,000, which she recently handed over to the foundation.

Kinley Wangmo thanked all the contributors and people who helped her collect the notes. “I was passionate about collecting the one Ngultrum notes thinking people would easily give it away as people don’t value it,” she said.

Kinley Wangmo is determined to collect more and urged people to help her further.

The founder Jigme Namgay said that the One Ngultrum initiative is not an individual project but involves society at large. “We believe that society will come forward to help through a small way but by making a huge difference in an individual’s life,” he said.

Jigme Namgay said that although they tried their best to give awareness on the value of one Ngultrum notes, they still need people’s support for the initiative to succeed.

Meanwhile, an annual lucky draw of the serial numbers on the one Ngultrum notes will be held for which prizes would be awarded. The foundation records the serial number on the notes for transparency and accountability.

The initiative accepts new, old or torn one Ngultrum notes.

Kinga Dema